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MIT Fablab outside of the US

by • May 9, 2016 • No Comments


About Vigyan Ashram (VA)

Dr. Kalbaag, PhD of University of Illinois, Chicago started with his dream project of Vigyan Ashram in 1983, at a tiny village Pabal near Pune city in India. Vigyan Ashram (VA) means science hermitage or a resident school, is a modern form of old Gurukul education process. Students learn science through experimentation, assembling different types of things, applying the knowledge gained to solve the real problems and become entrepreneurs. The different types of challenges in the areas of agriculture, energy, water, food and health are solved with new and cost effective approach. VA in addition has a FABLAB, which is the first outside Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The 3D printing facilities at FABLAB play a quite significant role in the create and manufacture of a few of these solutions.

First FABLAB outside MIT

FABLAB is the educational outreach component of MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms (CBA), an extension of its research into digital fabrication and computation. A FABLAB is a technical prototyping platform for advancement and invention, providing stimulus for local entrepreneurship.

In 2002, Prof Neil Gershenfield (Director, Center of Bits and atoms, MIT, USA) visited VA and the FABLAB was setup with capital equipment by NSF-USA and Indian Institute of Kanpur, India. This was the first FABLAB outside MIT.


Over the period of time, VA has collaborated with engineers, industries and academia of India, US as well as UK.

Various Projects

At FABLAB, different types of projects are executed where 3D printing is utilized during the concept stage or prototyping. The major objective behind all these projects is to create low cost solution and techniques; which can be manufactured by locals with little training. Some of the examples are as at a lower place.


  • An Egg Incubator machine was createed first of scrap material. Further, it was enhanced to complete 92% good results rate. At present, solar powered egg incubator is under createment.
  • Providing lighting facility for tribal communities is a challenge as they store on changing their base.Grid/ Solar/ Wind produced electricity is not feasible due to different types of reasons. So, a mono Wheel Genset is being createed with attachment to a mobility-bicycle. This generates power through a generator/alternator when pedaled daily, which is and so stored in a battery and can be utilized in the evenings for illumination via LED lamps.
  • A hearing aid, which is low cost, light mass and effortless to repair & maintain, is being createed. At present it is under testing and on the market as a D-I-Y kit for students.
  • VA innovated a low cost circuit for solar mobile charger. Today, assembling the solar charger is part of students curriculum as well as it is in addition manufactured as per the customers’ demand.

Success Stories Continue

Now, VA FABLAB has started working on their future challenging project i.e. assembling a quite cost effective prosthetic hand. The 3D printing facilities are being utilized in building the prototypes. The engineers, teachers and students truly believe in the undertaking of FABLAB which is ‘We can manufacture approximately anything!’



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